Faces of the Asylum: The Patients of the Bristol Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century

Bristol Record Office holds a remarkable photographic archive of patients in Bristol’s nineteenth century Lunatic Asylum. In this article, Paul Tobia asks what these compelling and intimate portraits can tell us.

Builders of Victorian Bristol

"The phrase 'builders of Victorian Bristol' can be approached at different levels. It can refer to all those who contributed to the growth of the city in the widest sense, embracing its physical, economic, social, political and cultural development in the period 1837-1901". Peter Malpass investigates some important names and how they made a different to Bristol in the Victorian era.

Crewing the Bristol Slave Trade: the Bristol Ships’ Muster Rolls, 1790-1795

In this article, Mike Breward looks at the use of Muster rolls on ships, noting what their purpose was and why they are so important. "Muster Rolls, listing ship's crews by name together with their service details, became a legal requirement on ship owners by an Act of Parliament in 1747. Their original purpose was to record monies paid into the 'hospital fund', a levy from seamen's wages for a relief fund for the injured and the provision of payments to widows and families of deceased sailors".

Critical Views of G. E. Street’s Proposals for the Rebuilding of the Nave of Bristol Cathedral 1867

'The restored nave of Bristol Cathedral was designed by George Edmund Street and has generally been regarded as an highly successful attempt to follow, without slavishly copying, the remarkably inventive architecture of the 14th-century chancel. Street was appointed as the architect of the proposed new nave'. In this, Bettey and Warren look at how those involved raised the funding, and the details surrounding its completion and its function as a place of worship was resumed.

A Bristol Apprenticeship: Craft, migration and liberty in the early modern city

The practice of apprenticeship brought many new faces to Bristol throughout the early modern period. In this Article with an introduction by Peter Flemming, Jinx Newley revives the lives of Welsh apprentices from the pages of a surviving Bristol Apprentice book, held at the Bristol Record Office. Looking into the seventeenth century, Margaret McGregor examines the notes of Clerks at the Tolzey Court (which dealt with Bristol apprentices) to find records of teenage runaways.

‘Race War’: Black American GIs in Bristol and Gloucestershire During World War II

During World War II, American armed forces were stationed at Bristol and throughout the South-West. A considerable number of these soldiers were African American. During this period, the Jim Crow Laws were still being enforced in the southern states of America, and a strict policy of racial segregation was observed within the American military. The experience of African American soldiers was very different in the South-West of England to what it had been in the United States. This article offers a brief insight into contemporary race-relations and the differences between the policies of each nation regarding civil rights and military participation.

The man who’d have blood for his supper: the killing of Henry Murray

'If the maintenance of order on the streets of early nineteenth century Bristol was never a simple matter, the constantly shifting presence of large visiting communities of seafaring Europeans cannot have made it any easier. With inns, lodging houses, streets and quays frequently awash with colourfully vibrant but uncustomary sights and sounds, social tensions and conflicts between host and 'outlandish' communities were rarely far beneath the surface. Often the detail of these cultural tensions went unrecorded but, as Steve Poole shows here, papers from a coroners inquest kept at the Bristol Record Office, bring them vividly back to life'.

St Thomas’ Church, Bristol: From Medieval Splendour to Classical elegance

'There were 18 parish churches crowded in and around the walls of medieval Bristol. Churchwardens' accounts and other sources show that these churches continued to be well-maintained throughout the 16th and 17th centuries , in spite of the destruction of many furnishings of great beauty and value during all the upheavals of the Reformation'. Joseph Bettey looks at the maintenance of parish churches in the Bristol area, and how congregations approached physical alterations to the skin of the building.

Documents in Context: A fifteenth-century Bristol ordinance concerning aliens.

This is the first in an occasional series in which a document relating to the history of Bristol and its region is reproduced and discussed. The aim is to provide discussion points, not to provide the last word on the issues raised. Peter Fleming investigates a number of sources relating to the growing population of 'non-Bristolians' migrating to the city, and how they were perceived.